Well-being and mental health
Mental health is more than meets the eye.
It affects our relationships, self-esteem and how we deal with life’s challenges. Mental health is just as important as physical health — it’s important to learn how to monitor it, and when you might need some extra support.
What is mental health?
This term gets tossed around a lot. And the words mental health bring up different ideas and feelings for all of us. That’s why it's important to understand what it means. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental health is:
- Enjoying life
- Having a sense of purpose
- Being able to manage life’s highs and lows
Mental health includes how we feel, think and act, our social connections, ability to solve problems and overcome challenges.
Check in with yourself
How are you, really?
The first step to caring for your mental health is being able to identify when your negative emotions go beyond the natural ups and downs you typically experience.
You’ll probably notice if you feel “off,” but it’s not always easy to pinpoint why — or what to do about it. With the busyness of day-to-day life, it can be tempting to dismiss, ignore or “power through” those negative feelings.
You know you best. Take note when your usual coping strategies aren’t helping you feel calm or at peace. We all respond to stress in different ways — It's important to know the specific signs that you are not feeling like yourself.
For example, you could have physical symptoms like headaches, emotional responses like crying more often or behaviors like staying up later than you normally would. Other signs may be feeling especially irritable or avoiding things you enjoy.
Try writing down your responses to stress. Identifying your specific signs will allow you to recognize faster that you need some extra support.
Learn real self-care
As you learn more about your mental health, you can practice self-care to cope with challenges. The words self-care might make you think of spa days and bubble baths. And while those might be part of it, they’re not always practical or even helpful for everyone.
Real self-care is small, sustainable practices you can work into your everyday routine that calm your nervous system. If you’re learning what practices work for you, try self-care that targets different parts of who you are:
- Emotional (ex. Journaling, painting, talking to a counsellor)
- Social (ex. Spending time with family, connecting with friends)
- Spiritual (ex. Prayer, meditation, spending time in nature, volunteering)
- Physical (ex. Yoga, going for a walk or bike ride, eating healthy foods)
And, there are people, resources and support available — just like there are for when we’re feeling physically sick. Strathcona County provides counselling and other supports you can access today by calling our team at 780-464-4044.
Ideas and resources to support mental health
Family and Community Services
Second floor, East Wing Community Centre
401 Festival Lane
Sherwood Park, AB T8A 5P7